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2001 VW Jetta engine temperature gauge

Alright, so my girlfriend’s engine temperature gauge told her that she was cose to over heating on her last Saturday and she took it into a Sears auto repair place (only because she works at the mall and gets a discount) and they told her that her coolant temperature monitor was bad and that she needed to replace it. We went in today and dropped $150 for them to replace the part, flush the coolant and do an oil change and on the ride home the gauge in the care was still reading that the engine was hotter than it should have been.

The engine gauge (both before and after the “repair” sits steady at just above 190 degrees for the first 20-25 minutes on the road and then spikes to almost 260 degrees but when she turns the heat on in the car to pull the hot air off the engine the air that comes through the vents is barely warm and when we opened the hood to feel the heat that way it didn’t seem to be any warmer than it should be.

This sounds to me like it’s more of a thermostat issue. Any suggestions (other than finding an affordable honest mechanic)?

Depending on how the problem was described to them, Sears might have made a good recommendation with the temperature sensor only to be wrong that it was not indeed the root cause. Don’t crusify them without due process. The only concern that I have is you should be able to replace a $20 temperature sensor without having to flush the coolant and change the oil. Even with the parts markup, labor, and shop supplies $50-$75 should have covered the temperature sensor alone.
That aside, this sounds like it could be a stuck thermostat (replace the thermostat) or more likely (based on no heat coming out when the heat is turned on) that you have a lot of buildup on the coolant system and you need a flush and fill with a Heavy Duty (negligeted) Prestone treatment. Per the instructions: add the treatment to the coolant and drive around for about 3 hours, then flush and refill the coolant (less than $50 including the replacement coolant and the flush and fill kit). If this doesn’t fix it, you could have a permanent clog in either the radiator or the heater core in which they would need to be replaced. I really think it just needs a flush and fill plus treatment.

Good luck!

she took it into a Sears auto repair place (only because she works at the mall and gets a discount)

She would be far better off going someplace else. Sears is little if any better than the quick oil change places. I suspect if she finds a good local INDEPENDENT shop (ask friends, co workers neighbors etc.) the problem will be quickly resolved.

Note: VW uses their own coolant. The use of other coolant or mixing coolant can damage your car. The coolant VW uses i not super expensive, it is important that it is used. “Universal” coolant is not Universal.

I would be looking for a blockage. This can happen due to a number of things including an internal hose failure which can not show up unless you are looking specifically for it.

Also VW had a string of bad sensors about that time. They did not cause overheating, but they made it look like there was a problem when there was none. The sensor is about $10 and takes about five minutes to replace. It might even be under and extended warranty,

Good Luck